STEM teacher interns engage in remote working in response to Covid-19

Dublin City University hosted a virtual launch of the 2020 STEM Teacher Internship on Tuesday, May 26th 2020 – a  unique education-industry programme to provide pre-service STEM teachers with a paid-internship experience of STEM roles and careers in a corporate environment. The 2020 programme has adapted to the changes in workplaces due to the global pandemic and will see sixteen internships proceeding on working from home basis across eight companies, Accenture, Alexion,  Ericsson, Intel, Microsoft, SSE Airtricity, Takeda and Xilinx. Working as part of remote teams the interns will develop key (technology, communication and collaboration) skills that they will need as future teachers to support blended learning in schools.

The STEM Teacher Internship Programme was developed by Dublin City University, in partnership with Accenture and 30% Club in 2016. Through the support of Connecting Women in technology (CWIT) and BioPharmaChem Ireland the programme has grown over the past five years and to date 57 students from the DCU’s pre-service STEM teacher education programmes have completed twelve-week paid internship across twenty companies – Accenture, AIB, Alexion, Bank of Ireland, Ericsson, Gas Networks, Ervia – Irish Water, EY, Fidelity International, Fidelity Investment, GE, HPE, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, PWC, SSE Airtricity, Virgin Media, Vodafone and Xilinx. 

DCU leaders of STEM teacher education – Associate Professor Eilish McLoughlin, School of Physical Sciences and Professor Deirdre Butler, School of STEM Education, Innovation and Global Studies, lead the STEM Teacher Internship Programme programme. The core purpose of the programme is to enable  future STEM teachers to engage with unique STEM experiences that they can use to transform their own classroom practices and inspire generations of future learners. The pre-service teachers are students from DCU’s primary and post-primary teacher education programme – including BSc Science Education, BSc Physical Education with Biology/Mathematics, BEd (Primary), Professional Masters in Education (PME) primary/post-primary.


The STEM Teacher Internship Programme programme has received strategic partnership funding from Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover programme (2020-2021) to expand this innovative programme and enable pre-service STEM teachers from other Universities to engage in internships  in a wide range of industries across Ireland. The 2020 programme has recruited nine new host organisations and seven pre-service second level STEM teachers from NUI Maynooth to participate, in addition to our DCU student teachers.


Dr Anne Looney, Dean of DCU Institute of Education said,

 “The skills that our future teachers will acquire during their internships are more important than ever. The last few months have seen dramatic changes in schools and schooling; the STint programme takes on a new importance as part of DCU’s work of preparing the teachers of the future. Collaborating online, working in virtual teams, and the ability to design and deliver technological solutions – these are likely to be part of classroom routines for the foreseeable future. I want to thank the leading companies who have generously agreed to support what has to be an internship this year; by hosting our students this summer, you are also reaching their future students. There is no better introduction to the STEM career opportunities than an inspiring teacher who has first hand experience.”


Ms. Margie McCarthy, Head of Education and Public Engagement. Science Foundation Ireland said, 

“Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support the STEM Teacher Internship Programme, which despite the ongoing pandemic, is announcing twelve virtual internships in 2020. This programme is an excellent example of industry and education working together to support future teachers to experience how STEM is applied in the workplace. It helps demystify the work of scientists, engineers and technologists so that teachers can experience the impact for themselves and transfer this knowledge to their students.”

Ms. Gillian Harford said:

“The role of teachers in encouraging next generations to understand and appreciate the value of STEM is critical to building our pipeline of future talent. At the 30% Club we are very proud to support this great example of business and education working in partnership for change.”

Ms. Paul McCabe, Executive Director Operations, Alexion Pharma International in Ireland said:

“The BioPharmaChem sector in Ireland directly employs more than 30,000 and will require more talented employees in the years ahead, with the right level of qualification, aptitude and experience. So, it is critical that industry works closely with academia to ensure we encourage, develop and support students to engage in STEM studies and careers. As such, through the STEM Teacher Internship, teachers get exposure to what a STEM career looks like and what critical skills are needed to undertake these roles. Our experience in Alexion with the program in 2019 has been highly positive and we saw how our teacher intern took their experience with them to educate their students around a future in STEM – our experience means we will continue to work with the program in 2020.” 

Mr Bernie Capraro, Research Manager, Silicon Technology, at Intel Ireland said:

”Intel Ireland has been a very keen supporter of the STEM Teacher Internship programme for a number of years, and is very pleased to be involved again in 2020. The opportunity for our future teachers to witness the world of technology in a work environment will be invaluable in their future careers, as they strive to inspire the hearts and minds of our younger generation. We have witnessed first-hand how student teachers embrace these opportunities and fully enjoy their chance to work on technical challenges they may never have otherwise encountered. Their workplace experiences have made an impact on their ability to convey what scientists and engineers do on a daily basis to their inquisitive students.This year, as we continue to fight against Covid-19, some of the experiences may be different in terms of the workplace, but we will endeavor to ensure the programme exceeds expectations, and that the positive impact on these future teachers can still be made.”


The STEM Teacher Internship Programme (STInt) is coordinated by Dublin City University and supported by: Abbvie, Accenture, AIB, Alexion, Allergan, Astellas, Bank of Ireland, Citibank, Deloitte, Ericsson, Gas Networks, Ervia – Irish Water, EY, Fidelity International, Fidelity Investments, GE, HPE, IBM, Intel, Mallinckrodt, Microsoft, MSD, PWC, SSE Airtricity, Stryker, Takeda, Virgin Media, Vodafone and Xilinx.

Participating pre-service teachers are students from DCU’s primary and post-primary teacher education programme – including BSc Science Education, BSc Physical Education with Biology/Mathematics, BEd (Primary), Professional Masters in Education (PME) primary/post-primary and NUI Maynooth post-primary Science teacher education programme.